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Local Teens Get Lifeguard Certification - KOAM TV 7

Local Teens Get Lifeguard Certification

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 3,500 people will die  every year in a drowning accident. Now that it's pool season, who is preventing that number from rising? After an intense weekend of training, a group of local teenagers are now qualified to do so.

You see them at every public pool, ready to jump in at moment’s notice. But before a lifeguard can sit in the stand, they have to "dive in" to training.

“Training is a lot more intense than most people think. Lifeguarding is portrayed as being pretty glamorous and there’s a lot of good times involved with lifeguarding but on average usually 1 to 2 people don't meet the prerequisites for this course,” says Kenneth Braun, a certified lifeguard instructor.

Four teenagers met the standards, completing a 300 meter swim, treading water using only their legs for 2 minutes, and the brick test, swimming a full length of the pool, getting a brick from the deep end, and swimming back with it. Participants say the intensity isn't for just anyone, especially considering the magnitude of the end goal.

“You have to want to be a lifeguard to do it, you can't just be like 1 day oh I want to be a lifeguard, you have to want it to be able to keep going to be able to motivate yourself,” says Destiny Abbott, a Carl Junction resident looking to get her certification for a summer job at the pool.

According to the CDC, there will be 10 unintentional fatal drownings each day and 1 in 5 of those who die from drowning are children 14 or younger. A huge part of the training is understanding the responsibility of guarding a human life.

“We let them know that at the end of the day, they're the one in charge and they can be the difference between life and death,” says Braun.

They also bring training on land, learning basic first aid, CPR and AED use.

On an average day lifeguarding may appear to be a lot of sitting and whistle blowing. But 1 day, “if somebody is drowning, I might have to jump in and you know, save their life,” says Abbott.

And this group will be ready. They also have to pass a written test at the end of the program.

The Joplin Family Y will be offering other training courses this summer.

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